Cllr Matt Harmer's June Newsletter
Welcome to the June newsletter from Brentford ward councillor Matt Harmer. For an archive of bulletins going back to January 2009 please visit www.mattharmer.com
This month – parking, boats, cricket, trees and play.
* Hamilton Rd headache *
Regular readers won’t be surprised to see that we are starting with parking and Controlled Parking Zones. Earlier this year, residents in roads around Griffin Park were asked if they were interested in being part of a CPZ. Some expressed an interest and further surveys were done. The results were released last week and a final decision made at Thursday’s Area Committee meeting. You can see the CPZ figures at http://tinyurl.com/CPZ2010 at page 2.
It wasn’t an easy decision. Residents of Hamilton Road and Westbury Place voted by a majority of 24 to 22 that they wanted a CPZ. Residents of the roads adjacent and nearby voted against (some had voted against on the previous round in Oct 2009 and therefore hadn’t been consulted in detail). Similarly, Layton Rd voted 19 – 11 in favour on a turnout of 41%.
So, what to do? Put a CPZ in one road, with the inevitable overspill into other roads, thereby disadvantaging them? Look at the area as a whole?
At this point, it’s worth pointing out a couple of things about councillors’ decision making. Firstly, we are often given a huge get-out clause on this – simply don’t turn up to the meeting where the decision has to be made and you can avoid being part of the decision making process. Try doing that at work or in your home life and see how far you get. Now, the meeting was last Thursday and I had to work. But even if I hadn’t, I would still have got out of the decision making process because I live adjacent to one of the roads being considered and therefore would have a greater interest in the outcome than most residents.
This means that it would have been fine to keep my head down. But that doesn’t seem right, so I wrote to members of the committee, and made the letter public, that I felt that on balance my preference would be to have no CPZ rather than bringing it into one road. I know that this decision is not popular and I will be out with fellow councillors Ruth Cadbury and Mel Collins knocking on some doors over the next few days to explain the reasons – mostly, that the decisions we take on one area have an effect on adjacent areas and we have to take those into consideration.
So whilst I know the decision isn’t universally popular - sometimes it is about upsetting the fewest number of people – I hope that one can accept that these decisions are made for understandable reasons and that we are prepared to stand up and defend them.
I should add that the Committee did decide to progress a football matchday CPZ, though there are some technical hurdles to overcome on that score (see what I did there?)
* Moorings moving forward *
There’s been local interest lately in Watermans Park. The Executive team of senior councillors who lead the borough have been presented with a report on the situation down there concerning the licensed and unlicensed boats and asked to come up with a plan. I’ve had some well-argued emails that the relevant report was biased in some way against the unlicensed boat owner/dwellers.
I don’t think that’s the case and I think that the important thing here is that we now must recognise that any further proposals must involve all parties – it’s the start of the process, not the end.
Ruth Cadbury will be leading on this and we’ll keep you informed on this.
* Trees tested *
A couple of bits of Gunnersbury Park news. On Monday I was at Lords attending a meeting hosted by former England test player Mike Gatting, who now runs a team looking to increase participation in cricket. There is a plan taking shape to put in a couple of artificial turf training wickets in the Park and allow local schools to use it. There’s some funding issues to sort out – as always – but I’m told these aren’t impossible to overcome and that we have a good chance of getting facilities that young people from local schools and clubs will be able to use. Given the state of our football team, perhaps it’s time to start building up the cricket talent.
I also had notification of some works to trees in the park. A team of arboriculturalists inspected 2,492 trees and 74 groups of trees in the part. The survey has identified 58 require removal as a matter of urgency as they were found to have significant levels of rot and decay, creating a hazard to residents and users of the park. This represents 2% of the trees in the park. In addition there are 213 trees that require remedial works, 8% of the tree population in the park.
Local residents have, I’m told, been informed and I pass this message out to reassure park users that this is not the start of a housing development or any other kind of development. I’ve been sent details of what’s wrong with these trees so anyone wanting more information can get in touch and I’ll send it on to you.
* More play *
Parents and carers of children from 0 to 5 will hopefully be aware of the excellent work of the Brentford Toy Library. The Toy Library have sessions at St Pauls Church Hall on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons and will start a new session next week at Clayponds Community Centre on Wednesday mornings from 9.30 to 11.30. It’s an excellent facility and well worth going along to if you have children of that age – and it’s free. More info at http://www.brentfordtoylibrary.org.uk/page8.aspx
Parents and carers should also know about our local Children’s Centre – info at http://www.brentfordtw8.com/default.asp?section=info&page=evchildrenscentre005.htm
* Help wanted *
At the start of this email I mentioned the Area Committte that covers the four wards of Brentford, Syon, Isleworth and Osterley. I know Chair one part of those meetings and we are looking for interested residents to join us as co-optees. If you have an interest in the sort of things that get discussed in these mails and can give up some Thursday evenings then you might want to put yourself forward for selection as a co-optee. You can look at previous Agendas by going to http://tinyurl.com/AreaCtteCoOp and following the links.
I want to increase public participation in these meetings and I want to theme some of them. I can’t be certain yet but I hope that September’s meeting on Sept 2nd will discuss potential improvements to the A4 crossings. I’ll hopefully know more next month. If there is an issue that you think would be enlightened by an hour-long session, please let me know. It can’t go into individual cases but can cover things of interest to a wide number of residents.
* Counted up and counted on *
Finally, a last word on the election. Once again, sincere thanks for your support in re-electing me along with colleagues Ruth Cadbury and Mel Collins. Thanks also to all candidates in the local elections – I hope that you think we had a fair contest, and credit to the candidates who are still involved in community issues – where we can, we will continue to work in harmony.
As you may know, the Labour party are now leading the council. As a Labour ward councillor it remains my job to represent the ward in the council and I will continue to do so to the best of my ability. I know that you will let me know how I’m doing...
Thanks for reading
153 Ealing Rd
Brentford, Middlesex TW8 0LF
020 8560 7033
June 21, 2010